LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) is edging ever closer to its 52-week high of 5,989 points, today putting on another 21 points to reach 5,946. That's another in a recent string of nine-month highs, with just 43 points to go to hit that magic 12-month top -- what a nice Christmas present that would be for investors!
Some individual constituents of the various FTSE indexes have been flying, too. Here are three hitting new highs.
Shares in Dechra Pharmaceuticals have been storming on up of late, hitting a new 52-week high of 636 today. This takes the shares up 43% from their year-low of 444 pence, set in May.
First-half results in September were strong, showing pre-tax profits up 17% and marking nine consecutive years of double-digit growth for the veterinary-care specialist. Full-year forecasts suggest a 24% rise in earnings per share, with the shares on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of around 16, which doesn't seem stretching for a share with this kind of growth.
Direct Line (LSE:DLG)
Direct Line continues its post-flotation climb, closing at a high of 206 pence yesterday and continuing up to 209 pence today. The stock is up more than 13% on the flotation price and is already a nice earner for those who took the risk during such uncertain economic times.
Forecasts for the year to December suggest a dividend yield of 4.2%, and if optimistic estimates for 2013 prove right, we could be looking at 6.2% next year, so this could be the start of long-term rewards for shareholders.
The third of our trio today, telecom provider TalkTalk reached a 52-week record of 224.9 pence yesterday and has held at that price today. TalkTalk shares are now up 89% from their February low of 119 pence, which is a pretty substantial movement for a 2 billion pound company.
And though forecasts suggest an 11% fall in earnings for the year to March, they still predict a dividend yield of 4.7%, with an earnings recovery and further dividend growth penciled in for the following year.
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Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.